Merck buys Swiss biotech with promising cancer drug

KENILWORTH, N.J. (AP) — Drugmaker Merck says it’s bought a Swiss biotech company developing cancer drugs as part of its strategy to be a top player in cancer, one of the hottest pharmaceutical research areas.

Merck & Co., based in Kenilworth, New Jersey, will pay up to $110 million upfront to OncoEthix. The privately held company could receive further payments of up to $265 million if it meets targets for testing and product approval.

The deal gives Merck ownership of an experimental treatment called OTX015 that could be the first in a new class of drugs that block proteins involved in cancer cell growth and survival.

The drug demonstrated effectiveness in early-stage testing of patients with blood cancers, and OncoEthix last month began initial patient testing against five different types of solid tumors.

 

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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